DIY User Research for Open Source Projects

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 from 4:45 – 5:30pm in B302/303


Open source is only about open code, right? Wrong. Interviews, questionnaires, quick usability tests, and many other research types all have a place in the open source development process. With a few easy steps and a set of scripts to follow, your community can make user research an easy and essential component of your open source project.


User research and better usability are about understanding the behaviors and motivations of your target audience. It’s an area built around observations, questions, and feedback gathering. User research is something that even a single open source developer or small team can learn and do, without having an extensive budget and a lot of time. User research can highlight potential issues, save you time, and prevent you from building in the wrong direction.

In this talk, Erin will share experiences, research methods, and results from performing user research for a growing open source project. You will learn about different tests and techniques, as well as how to recruit participants, how to design surveys, and how to conduct interviews and tests.

We’ll cover software and tools that you can use for recording conversations, screen sharing, and collecting data. You’ll take away scripts and forms for interviews, survey questions, and tasks that you can easily customize to start using with your open source project today.


user research, Usability, ethnography, user experience

Speaking experience

Dare Conference -

IA Summit -

Webvisions -

MidwestUX -